California Serial Killer Rodney Alcala Arraigned for Manhattan Murders

By Irene Plagianos on June 21, 2012 3:58pm 

Serial killer Rodney Alcala arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court on June 21, 2012
Serial killer Rodney Alcala arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court on June 21, 2012
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Jane Rosenberg/Court Artist

MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — Convicted California serial killer Rodney Alcala was arraigned Thursday on charges that he murdered two Manhattan women during the 1970s.

The one-time "Dating Game" contestant pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder for allegedly strangling Cornelia Crilley, an Upper East Side flight attendant in 1971 and killing Ellen Hover, who disappeared in 1977.

Alcala sat quietly, with his hands and feet cuffed, only uttering "not guilty" during the brief hearing. His curly, grey hair was pulled back in a ponytail and he appeared thin in his orange prison jumpsuit.

The 67-year-old was flown in yesterday from California with U.S. Marshals to face the murder charges. In January, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. indicted Alcala — who is currently on death row in California for murdering four women and a 12-year-old girl — for the Manhattan women's murders.

The indictment came almost two years after the NYPD released roughly 200 images of women and children photographed by Alcala in the Greenwich Village area in the 1970s.

Crilley was a flight attendant from Queens living with two roommates, fellow stewardesses, in a Yorkville apartment. She was strangled with a stocking and found with "clothing stuffed into her mouth" at her 427 E. 83rd St. apartment, according to the New York Times.

Hover was the daughter of club owner Herman Hover, who was photographed with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable at the legendary Los Angeles club he ran, Ciro's.

Alcala had appeared as a handsome young contestant on "The Dating Game" around the time he reportedly lured his victims to their death by inviting them to be his subjects in racy photo shoots.

Despite a growing body of clues over three decades and the suspicions of many that Alcala murdered two promising young women, authorities did not have the evidence to prosecute the New York cases until recently.

The case became a priority for the DA's cold case unit, which took on a re-examination of these two homicides last year.

"We simply, as a matter of policy, as a matter of doing our job do not turn our back on a murder case," Vance said in January.

Alcala's next court appearance is scheduled for October 30th. He was ordered held without bail.

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